Irene Dunne

Movie Actress

Irene Dunne was born in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on December 20th, 1898 and is the Movie Actress. At the age of 91, Irene Dunne biography, profession, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, measurements, education, career, dating/affair, family, news updates, and networth are available.

Other Names / Nick Names
Irene Marie Dunne
Date of Birth
December 20, 1898
United States
Place of Birth
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Death Date
Sep 4, 1990 (age 91)
Zodiac Sign
Film Actor, Singer, Stage Actor, Television Actor
Irene Dunne Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

At 91 years old, Irene Dunne has this physical status:

Not Available
Hair Color
Dark brown
Eye Color
Light brown
Not Available
Irene Dunne Religion, Education, and Hobbies
Roman Catholic
Not Available
Madison High School, Chicago Music College
Irene Dunne Spouse(s), Children, Affair, Parents, and Family
Francis Dennis Griffin, ​ ​(m. 1927; died 1965)​
Dating / Affair
Not Available
Adelaide Dunne, Joseph J. Dunne
Allen Dunne
Irene Dunne Career

Dunne took more singing lessons and then dancing lessons to prepare for a possible career in musical theater. On a New York vacation to visit family friends, she was recommended to audition for a stage musical, eventually starring as the leading role in the popular play Irene, which toured major cities as a roadshow throughout 1921. "Back in New York," Dunne reflected, "I thought that with my experience on the road and musical education it would be easy to win a role. It wasn't." Her Broadway debut was December 25 the following year as Tessie in Zelda Sears's The Clinging Vine. She then obtained the leading role when the original actress took a leave of absence in 1924. Supporting roles in musical theater productions followed in the shows The City Chap (1925), Yours Truly (1927) and She's My Baby (1928). Her first top-billing, leading role Luckee Girl (1928) was not as successful as her previous projects. She would later call her career beginnings "not great furor." At this time, Dunne added the extra "e" to her surname, which had ironically been misspelled as "Dunne" at times throughout her life until this point; until her death, "Dunne" would then occasionally be misspelled as "Dunn". Starring as Magnolia Hawks in a road company adaptation of Show Boat was the result of a chance meeting with its director Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. in an elevator the day she returned from her honeymoon, when he mistook her for his next potential client, eventually sending his secretary to chase after her. A talent scout for RKO Pictures attended a performance, and Dunne signed the studio's contract, appearing in her first movie, Leathernecking (1930), an adaptation of the musical Present Arms. Already in her 30s when she made her first film, she would be in competition with younger actresses for roles, and found it advantageous to evade questions that would reveal her age, so publicists encouraged the belief that she was born in 1901 or 1904; the former is the date engraved on her tombstone.

The "Hollywood musical" era had fizzled out, so Dunne moved to dramatic roles during the Pre-Code era, leading a successful campaign for the role of Sabra in Cimarron (1931) with her soon-to-be co-star Richard Dix, earning her first Best Actress nomination. A Photoplay review declared, "[This movie] starts Irene Dunne off as one of our greatest screen artists." Other dramas included Back Street (1932) and No Other Woman (1933); for Magnificent Obsession (1935), she reportedly studied Braille and focused on her posture with blind consultant Ruby Fruth. This was after she and Dix reunited for Stingaree (1934), where overall consensus from critics was that Dunne had usurped Dix's star power. Under a new contract with Warner Bros., the remake of Sweet Adeline (1934) and Roberta (1935) were Dunne's first two musicals since Leathernecking; Roberta also starred dancing partners Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and she sang "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". In 1936, she starred as Magnolia Hawks in Show Boat (1936), directed by James Whale. Dunne had concerns about Whale's directing decisions, but she later admitted that her favorite scene to film was "Make Believe" with Allan Jones because the blocking reminded her of Romeo and Juliet. It was during this year that Dunne's Warner Bros. contract had expired and she had decided to become a freelance actor, with the power to choose studios and directors. She was apprehensive about attempting her first comedy role as the title character in Theodora Goes Wild (1936), but discovered that she enjoyed the production process, and received her second Best Actress Oscar nomination for the performance.

Dunne followed Theodora Goes Wild with other romantic and comedic roles. The Awful Truth (1937) was the first of three films also starring Cary Grant and was later voted the 68th best comedy in American cinema history by the American Film Institute. Their screwball comedy My Favorite Wife (1940) was praised as an excellent spiritual successor, whereas Penny Serenade (1941) was a "romantic comedy that frequently embraced melodrama." Dunne also starred in three films with Charles Boyer: Love Affair (1939), When Tomorrow Comes (1939), and Together Again (1944). Love Affair was such an unexpected critical and financial success that the rest of Dunne and Boyer's films were judged against it; When Tomorrow Comes was considered the most disappointing of the "trilogy," and the advertising for Together Again promoted the actors' reunion more than the movie. Dunne and Grant were praised as one of the best romantic comedy couples, while the Dunne and Boyer pairing was praised as the most romantic in Hollywood.

On her own, Dunne showed versatility through many film genres. Critics praised her comedic skills in Unfinished Business (1941) and Lady in a Jam (1942), despite both movies' negative reception. When the United States entered the Second World War, Dunne participated in celebrity war bond tours around the country, announcing at a rally in 1942, "This is no time for comedy. I'm now a saleswoman, I sell bonds." She followed the tour with her only two war films: A Guy Named Joe (1943) and The White Cliffs of Dover (1944). Despite A Guy Named Joe's troubled production and mixed reviews, it was one of the most successful films of the year. Over 21 (1945) was Dunne's return to comedy but the themes of war (such as her character's husband enlisting in the army) immediately dated the story, which may have contributed to its lack of success. Strong but ladylike motherly roles in the vein of Cimarron's Sabra would follow throughout her next films, such as Anna Leonowens in the fictionalized biopic Anna and the King of Siam (1946), and mothers Vinnie Day in Life with Father (1947), and Marta Hanson in I Remember Mama (1948). Dunne openly disliked Vinnie's ditziness and had rejected Life with Father numerous times, eventually taking the role because "it seemed to be rewarding enough to be in a good picture that everyone will see." For I Remember Mama, Dunne worked on her Norwegian accent with dialect coach Judith Sater, and wore body padding to appear heavier; Marta Hanson was her fifth and final Best Actress nomination.

Dunne's last three films were box-office failures. The comedy Never a Dull Moment (1950) was accused of trying too hard. Dunne was excited to portray Queen Victoria in The Mudlark (1950) for a chance to "hide" behind a role with heavy makeup and latex prosthetics. It was a success in the UK, despite initial critical concern over the only foreigner in a British film starring as a well-known British monarch, but her American fans disapproved of the prosthetic decisions. The comedy It Grows on Trees (1952) became Dunne's last movie performance, although she remained on the lookout for suitable film scripts for years afterwards. She filmed a television pilot based on Cheaper by the Dozen that was not picked up. On the radio, she and Fred MacMurray respectively played a feuding editor and reporter of a struggling newspaper in the 52-episode comedy-drama Bright Star, which aired in syndication between 1952 and 1953 by the Ziv Company. She also starred in and hosted episodes of television anthologies, such as Ford Theatre, General Electric Theater, and the Schlitz Playhouse of Stars. Faye Emerson wrote in 1954, "I hope we see much more of Miss Dunne on TV," and Nick Adams called Dunne's performance in Saints and Sinners worthy of an Emmy nomination. Dunne's last acting credit was in 1962, but she was once rumored to star in unmaterialized movies named Heaven Train and The Wisdom of the Serpent, and rejected an offer to cameo in Airport '77. In 1954, Hedda Hopper reported a rumor that Dunne would star alongside Robert Mitchum in Charles Laughton's stage adaptation of The Web and the Rock. "I never formally retired," Dunne later explained, "but an awful lot of the girls my age soldiered on in bad vehicles. [I] couldn't run around with an ax in my hand like Bette [Davis] and Joan [Crawford] did to keep things going."